Franz Wagner 2021 NBA Draft Profile

After spending two seasons with Michigan, Franz Wagner is well on his way to the NBA as a likely lottery pick. He’s a jack of all trades player looking to make an immediate impact for the team that selects him. Furthermore, he is the younger of current Orlando Magic player, Moritz Wagner.

Franz Wagner 2021 NBA Draft Profile

College Career

Wagner was a four-star out of high school from Berlin, Germany. Before making his debut at Michigan, Wagner fractured his right wrist and missed four weeks. Despite missing time with his injury, Wagner made the Big Ten All-Freshmen team in 2020. Wagner averaged 11.6 points, 5.6 rebounds, one assist, and 1.3 steals per contest in his freshman year at Michigan. 

During his sophomore season, Wagner was a part of the Wolverines team that made it to the National Tournament. Unfortunately for him, it ended in disappointment. While he played well during the 2021 season, Wagner struggled mightily in that Sweet 16 match against UCLA. He declared for the 2021 NBA Draft soon afterward. In his sophomore season with Michigan, Wagner averaged 12.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists, 1.3 steals, and one block per contest. His stats don’t jump out at you, but he can impact the game in different ways.

Strengths

Wagner is a player who can do a little bit of everything. He is a versatile defender who can guard multiple positions. The 6’9″ small forward also has good lateral quickness and routinely bothered his opponents with his size and length. Furthermore, Wagner is great at reading offenses and blowing up plays. He causes many deflections and forced turnovers. His 1.3 steals per game average in college somewhat reflects his ability on defense. 

On offense, he plays well off the ball and runs the floor well. Wagner gets most of his points either off of cuts, passes or in transition. He simply has a great feel for the game of basketball. Another thing that Wagner does well offensively is his ability to be a playmaker. He is a good passer at his size, has great court vision, and knows how to execute a pick-and-roll.  

Weaknesses

While Wagner is a jack of all trades player, his most glaring weakness is his ability to create for himself. He doesn’t look comfortable when he has to shoot off the dribble. Part of that is because he has a slow shot release. While he’s not a bad shooter, he doesn’t have the ability to get his shot off and to create separation between defenders. Fortunately for Wagner, there’s no major mechanical issue with his jump shot. There are also times where Wagner doesn’t look to assert himself offensively and lacked confidence. That’s something to look out for with him.

Another weakness in Wagner is that isn’t particularly explosive or athletic. This is one of the reasons why there are times where he can’t beat his man off the dribble. It also doesn’t help that he’s very right-handed as a player. Opponents can just force him to go left which is something he struggles to do. Wagner is not good at handling the ball with his left hand.

Comparison

Wagner has a lot of similarities to Nicolas Batum. Both of them are versatile defenders, good passers, not known for scoring the ball and have a great feel for the game of basketball. With Wagner’s current skill set, he will likely be an elite role player who can impact the game. It will come down to how much Wagner can improve if he is to become a star in the NBA.

2021 NBA Draft Projection

Lottery Pick: 9th- 13th overall


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